Sunday, March 22, 2015

How to Install Windows 10 on an Android or Windows 8/8.1 Tablet

I was experimenting with trying to put Windows 10 Technical Preview on a Windows 8 tablet and decided I would share the information I have learned on the process. But don't get too excited yet, there are many requirements and even then there is still a chance it won't work. Others may have no problem and experience the delight of Windows 10!

WARNING: I am not responsible for any damage or issues caused by using the following information.

Windows 10
Windows 10 is still being developed and tested. The newest build has just come out and it will soon be available as an ISO. Microsoft has also stated they are going to start making monthly updates, and that even pirates of Windows 7 will get a free upgrade!

Unlike Windows 8/8.1 on tablets, the Windows 10 OS is meant to be the same for a tablet or a PC. Phones seem to be getting a different version, but who knows how it will end up when finally released.

General Preparation
The first thing you will need to have is a tablet. I would recommend a tablet with at least 32GB built-in, but you might be able to get away with 16GB. Just as important is that the tablet will need to have an Intel CPU. I don't think there are any Intel CPU's in tablets that aren't capable of installing Windows 10.

In addition, ensure that you have a full-sized USB port, or a micro-USB port that supports OTG. In the case of the latter, ensure you have an OTG cable, or an OTG-capable USB flash drive. Speaking of which, you will need a USB flash drive; a drive of 8GB or higher is recommended.

Android users will probably require a keyboard, so be sure to have a keyboard that will work with an OTG cable, or that fits a micro-USB port. If you only have a micro-USB port, and the use of a keyboard is required, you will need an OTG cable splitter that can power items such as a USB flash drive. In this instance, it would be smarter to use a keyboard that is meant for a tablet so extra power is not required from the tablet. Some people may be fortunate enough to have both USB port types, which could make this process much easier.

You will then need to download a copy of Windows 10 for 32-bit. You are supposed to signup for the Windows Insider Program, but there are other ways... Once you have an ISO of Windows 10, use a program like Rufus to make a bootable USB of the Windows 10 ISO image. I believe you will want the GPT option. Choose for a BIOS or UEFI depending on what you have.

The main restriction is to not have a compressed OS. The trouble here is that there are really no documents or articles that will specify if you have a compressed OS or not.

I have read about many popular Windows 8 tablets having this problem, not all of them, but many. The only way I found this out was attempting to install Windows 10 via booting into the USB flash drive. I was not able to do it, so I tried to update through Windows and that's when I received a message stating that I had a compressed OS and could not continue.

I have not read about any Android devices coming across a compressed OS. On the flip side, it is usually argued that most Android devices are incapable of booting from a USB. This is more of a bootloader issue than anything, but if you have an Intel CPU, there is a chance you can still install Windows 10. 

There are two ways to go about this: Upgrade from within Windows or boot from the USB flash drive and install. Obviously if you have an Android tablet, you will be limited to the latter.

Installing from Windows
This should be fairly easy. As long as your tablet recognized the USB, you should be able to open it up in My Computer and find a setup file to double-click on. You will then either go through the process of installing, or get a compressed OS message.

If you try the next method and cannot complete it despite having met all the requirements, chances are you have a compressed OS. Performing this upgrade from Windows should confirm that.

Installing on a Windows Tablet
This is a bit more detailed, but still a valid method. Ensure you have your USB ready and plugged in beforehand:

  1. Go to "PC Settings".
  2. Select "Update and recovery".
  3. Click "Recovery"
  4. Go to "Advanced startup".
  5. Choose "Restart now" for booting from a USB device.

If this does not work, see if you can boot directly into the UEFI, which can be accomplished from the PC Settings menu as well. You should then be able to determine which device has boot priority. However, I found that this did not work for my tablet.

If you boot into an installation screen, follow the steps and install Windows 10!

Installing from an Android Tablet
This is a bit tougher than a Windows tablet as you have no option in the OS to boot directly from a USB device.

Because of this, you will likely need to connect a keyboard while your USB is plugged in. It will then be a matter of if you can find a key (likely an F-key) that will allow you to get a priority boot menu to appear. If it does, then you can select to boot from a USB device and press enter. You should then boot into the Windows 10 installation screen and just need to follow any instructions to proceed.

There may be a way to access the boot priority menu without a keyboard, but I have not comes across any articles or posts detailing how if so.

Have Fun!
During installation you should be able to use touch to make choices, so a keyboard should only be necessary in the beginning, if at all. And for those who run into problems, ensure you have met all requirements first and are not limited by any restrictions. Not everyone is going to be able to do this (I would say most), and many tablets will be eliminated by just the first couple sections I wrote.

If I could take a guess, I would have to say Windows 8 tablet owners are more likely to be able to install Windows 10 as long as they don't have a compressed OS.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Amazon Prime: How to Get Unlimited VIDEO Storage!

Amazon Prime is a good membership to have, at least it is for me. There are some decent benefits to having it. Recently, Amazon Prime members have received the ability to have unlimited storage for photos. Of course, videos can be huge, so they likely decided against unlimited video uploads immediately. However, I am going to teach you a technique that will allow you to bypass this restriction...

Amazon Prime Benefits
Besides the normal 2-day shipping, and free video library, Amazon Prime members get a few other benefits. One is that a Prime member can allow up to four members of their "household" to latch on to that same account. That's a little less than $20 split five ways!

Another benefit is that if a package comes later than shipped - and I believe this also applies if you pay for shipping - you can receive a month of prime free. Of course, I doubt they'll just give it to you, you would need to call in and demand it.

A final benefit not already mentioned, is that Amazon Prime members can get early access to certain Lightning Deals Amazon offers. It's usually only 30 minutes before, but on some items, this is an absolute necessity!

Amazon Prime Photo & Video Storage
As an Amazon Prime member you automatically receive unlimited photo storage regardless of type or size. As for videos, a Prime member is automatically allotted 5GB of storage. You can pay monthly subscriptions for more, but considering that other places offer better deals, it's not very enticing as an option.

If It Were Easy...
The easiest solution to think of for bypassing the video storage capacity issue is to rename a video with a picture extension. This would be great, if it worked.

I tried both the Android Amazon Photo app, and the web app, but neither could be tricked into thinking that a video was a picture of some sort. I used .JPEG, .BMP, .PNG, and .GIF. I even tried a .JP2 and a .RAW to be absolutely sure. I assume that Amazon's software is "smart enough" to differentiate video data for what it is.

You can check this yourself by uploading a video with a picture extension and then checking your storage capacity. It can take a few minutes to update, but it will show that you ARE using some of your 5GB.

The Road Less Traveled
The method needed to store videos requires a bit of work on the user's part. This method is best used for people who have very little storage space available to them, but need to somehow store a video for later:

  1. Choose a video you want to upload.
  2. You will need either the VLC player (free), or another program that can extract images from video. You can also use video-editing software and output each image.
  3. If you are using the VLC player, follow the links and create the numerous images that will be extracted from your video.
  4. Once you have all your pictures, open up your Amazon Web Photo & Video Storage web app.
  5. Upload all your photos!

Note: You should be able to do the reverse to convert the pictures back into a video. You should also be able to use QuickTime. Video-editing software will also work.

I should add that you can use your Amazon Photo Storage iOS or Android app, or the PC desktop software, if you prefer. I assume most people who would do this would be on a computer, so it would be superfluous to do this on your smartphone.

Also, if possible, I would use something like JPEG 2000, as it is meant for videos and is much higher quality than a JPEG, and likely other picture formats when concerning video. Something like Photoshop might be best if attempting to use JPEG 2000.

Roll Credits
This is a basic way to get your videos into the cloud for free (minus a Amazon Prime subscription). It takes a bit of work to get the videos up there, but it is fairly simple and fast to do. If I ever run out of cloud storage, or have a load of files that start ranging in the terabytes, this would be my method of choice to store them.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Safest Way To Download Media (Videos, Music, Games & Software)

In my last article I wrote about what should be the safest possible way to use torrents. Yet, with torrents, there is always a risk involved (even when used legally). The only way to minimize that risk is to not use them at all. Now you're safe, but what about all that stuff you want to download? Well, I must first state that all the information in this article is purely for educational purposes and I will not be held responsible in how this information is used.

Isn't This Illegal?
Yes, it is. However, there are legitimate reasons to do this. I will provide a few examples for different pieces of media:

You end up downloading some music on iTunes. Something happens to your Apple account that has you create a new one. All your music was on your old account which can no longer be accessed. Is it right for Apple to make you to buy each song or album again?

I might own a Blu-ray disc of a movie I love. It has become so damaged it no longer plays. I still own the movie and still want to watch it. Why should I pay again for another copy of the same movie?

The new Mario game is about to arrive and you're feeling nostalgic. Digging through your garage you find your old NES console and a copy of Super Mario Bros. After everything is hooked up you find that the console, or the game, or both, are not working. Is it fair that something - which is discontinued - no longer works, through no fault of your own, and the only way you could get a "new" one is to have someone fix it (which may cost more than what it's worth)?

One problem with purchasing the Windows 8 OS digital download was that if you lost the email that had your key, that was it, it was lost forever. What if you did downloaded it and a couple of months later wanted to make a fresh new install of Windows 8. You realize you lost your email with the product key and Microsoft is of no help. Should you be forced to buy Windows 8 again?

My answers to these questions are no, that's ridiculous. While the copyrighted material should not be on the net in the first place, that doesn't change the fact that it exists. But copyright infringement is about infringing on rights. What rights are you infringing on if you already own the material?

No Torrents?
Yes, you should avoid torrents at all costs. That is, if you're ISP and/or country actually cares. There are plenty that really don't, trust me.

The reason you should not use torrents is because ISP's and cable companies can view and monitor what you are downloading since you are using a peer-to-peer network. Many people use VPN's for this very reason, and they can work well, if you ensure that your anonymity is safe. They also can cost you quite a bit, which was the main reason to use my method in my last article here.

Usenet is another option, but you do have to hand over credit card information to get access, so you could still be found out if that service hands over their information to a government agency or company.

Music Methods
The easiest to way get music is to use YouTube. There are numerous online sites that allow you to turn YouTube videos into MP3. There are some sites that will do the same conversion but output FLAC.

Albums are a bit different, and can be tedious if using the YouTube method. You can use "index of" tricks to search directories, and you may get lucky enough to find what you're looking for (if it's popular). There are plenty of sites that are just for downloading albums, not singles. And of course, there are plenty of host sites that allow downloads of albums. used to be a good way to search, but they have since changed completely to legal content. There are other sites that will allow you to search these host sites though...

Video Methods
The YouTube methods for music also apply here. There are a lot of sites that will download YouTube videos for you, but there are better ways.

All over the internet hundreds of sites stream movie and TV show content for free. They will likely have a lot more variety than what YouTube offers, but they can also do one other thing that can greatly benefit you.

If you have a download manager you can download your videos at blistering speeds. This does depend on the hosting server limits and your Internet speeds, but it can be extremely helpful for those with slow speeds.

Games & Software Methods
These are a bit more difficult as your only options are hosting sites. Normally, if free, games or software will be divided into multiple chunks, and can take quite a long time to finish. What's worse, if there are something like 20 parts, and you get to part 15 realizing it has been taken down, you just wasted a bunch of time. To avoid this, open each part first and make sure they are available to download.

Furthermore, a download manager can help here too. Some hosting sites allow download managers for free users, and some hosting sites allow multiple downloads at once. This can greatly decrease the time used on downloading this type of content.

Older consoles and respective will usually have emulators scattered across the net that are free and quick to download.

Is It Safe?
These are by far your safest options. Unlike peer-to-peer networks, your ISP or cable provider can't just see what your downloading and if it's illegal or not. The most that seems to happen is if you use a hosting site for downloads, those hosting companies will either take the download down when they see or are told to by whatever company that owns the rights or represents the rights holder. Hosting companies are normally to big to constantly monitor and peruse through what is actually on their servers.

If you happen to be the uploader and are hosting illegal content, you can have your access restricted or completely revoked.

For Each Beginning, There Is An End
While I gave out ideas as to what can be done, I tried not to specify or detail too much. It's not exactly hard to figure out, but why poke the beast? Regardless, as I wrote earlier, there are legitimate times when downloading content should be legal. This doesn't mean you can't get in trouble nonetheless, but at least you would have a valid excuse if something were to happen.